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Principal's Message

From the Desk of Principal Loftus:
January 14, 2020

Mr. Loftus with a small group of seniors in the Orientation Room

Over our winter break, I wrestled with the story of Bryce Gowdy, the Deerfield Beach High School graduate who took his own life just before he was to leave for Georgia Tech on a full football scholarship and pursue a degree in either engineering or finance. I didn't know him, but his passing has rocked me to the core. 

I'm stuck on the paradox of fearing your own success. Gowdy's story has other elements to it and I certainly don't want to oversimplify the circumstances surrounding his tragic passing. But I believe that many teenagers on the cusp of breaking through to new heights often carry the burden of what collateral damage may come with that success.

I first learned about "Fear of Success" from 1993 PGA Champion Paul Azinger describing the collapse of many professional golfers on the last day of major tournaments. Subconsciously, they fear how their lives may be changed by this immediate success and navigating a new world of unchartered territory that comes with becoming a major champion.

For our kids, it's real. As educators, we have to determine if some students aren't trying or "tank" because they fear the success.

It's complex - complex enough for me to challenge our teachers and staff to identify those students who may fear success, so that we may help them process the changes that come with success. And it's not just academic success - it's fear of success in interpersonal relationships, finance, athletics, performance art . . . I love our teachers and staff because they genuinely care about our kids. Our kids are not numbers to us. We have a vested interest in their success, which is why we want to ensure our students feel safe pursuing it.

This message is to be continued next week. . .

With Phoenix Pride,   
Mr. Doug Loftus


Are your kids in a "good place" socially and emotionally? This isn't an invitation to probe into their lives, but how well do you know how your kid is doing right now? Overall, things may seem well and good. But, if your kid is moving on to college or a career next year, maybe out of the area, have you had some honest conversations about the stress of leaving the house for the first time? Focus less on projecting your parental stress into your student. Your kid already knows you will miss them. But have they heard the statements of confidence you have in them to be successful in their next step in life? That's what they need, to reduce their hidden stress and apprehension, so they can move on with confidence.

What does that mean for kids and parents not graduating but coming back to high school? Spend the balance of this year focusing your conversations around what these remaining five weeks of school mean in the larger picture. Every Major League Baseball team plays 162 regular season games or 54 3-game series. You want to focus on taking 2 out of 3 in each series. That'll make you elite.

Enjoy the rest of your week and our beautiful Florida spring weather while we have it! 

With Phoenix Pride,   
Mr. Doug Loftus

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